Taking time to organize your garden seed storage pays off throughout the whole growing season. If you love to save and collect seeds, following these organization tips will save you time and energy.
How to organize seeds
Before you go wild when the new seed catalogs land in your mailbox, take a few extra moments to organize and inventory the seeds you already have. There are many ways to organize garden seeds but it really comes down to personal preference. Here are my five favorite ways to store seeds.
- By plant family: All the tomatoes in one place? Yes please! This is the easiest way to quickly find what you’re looking for when planting seeds. Organize by botanical plant family ie: Brassicas, Solanaceae, etc or more broadly ie: cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.
- Alphabetically: As easy as A,B,C.
- Weeks to transplant (seed starting): This one is for all you spreadsheet-loving organizational nerds (in the best way, of course)! If you’ve perfected the timing of seed starting, this can be an easy way to just follow along with the calendar in coordination with your organized seeds.
- Date to Maturity (DTM): If you’re new to the concept of DTM, read my post on choosing seed varieties first. When you have about 30 days left in the growing season, reach for the quick-maturing crops in your seed organizer.
- Saved seed from your garden only: Seeds that have been saved from your garden are quite special and deserve a special storage place. I love this kit with envelopes for saving and labeling garden seeds.
Garden Seed Storage
Now that you have all your garden seeds organized, what’s the best way to store them?
- Cool, dry and out of direct sunlight: What do seeds need to germinate? Water and sunlight. Let’s do the opposite of that when we store them so that they stay dormant until we’re ready to use them. Consider storing them in a dark closet, north-facing room or basement.
- Consistent temps: Seeds last the longest when they’ve been stored at consistent temperatures. They won’t do as well when left in non climate-controlled spaces like storage sheds or garages where temps fluctuate wildly throughout the seasons.
- Pest-proof: Mice and birds absolutely love seeds! Keep seeds in galvanized metal or rodent-proof plastic tubs for the best storage.
- Freezer optional: The best way to preserve seeds indefinitely is to put them in the freezer. This is where they’ll last the longest. However, many people don’t have enough dedicated space in the freezer, so this is completely optional. Skip the refrigerator as these conditions are too humid for seeds.
My favorite seed organizer is the Deluxe Galvanized Seed Saver Kit from Gardener’s Supply Company.
The oversized box has five different compartments for organization and even comes with extra envelopes for labeling and saving your own garden seeds. The envelopes are the perfect blank canvas to label and share your garden seeds with others as gifts.
The galvanized material keeps rodents and moisture out so that your seeds will be sure to last for a long time.
Questions about Seed Storage:
Most seeds last for a minimum of 1-2 years, however many varieties can last much longer. Storing them in ideal conditions helps keep them viable the longest.
Store seeds in a cool, dry, temperature-controlled environment away from direct sunlight.
Store seeds in waterproof, rodent-proof containers like galvanized metal or heavy-duty plastic bins.
Definitely! Many seeds will last for years after they are packaged. You can always do a germination test if you’re unsure.
Did you try this in your garden?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.
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